Enter Name:   
Enter Email:
Subscribe here to receive occasional updates from Lowburn Ferry.
Conservation Affiliations


A community initiative to help save an iconic species unique to Otago

Lowburn Ferry wines are proud sponsors of the CENTRAL OTAGO ECOLOGICAL TRUST which has established a the MOKOMOKO DRYLAND SANCTUARY in the Aldinga Conservation Area behind Alexandra.

The spectacular Otago skink occurs nowhere else in the world except Otago.

They are New Zealand's largest skink (up to 30 cm long) and are black with gold markings – a real Central Otago icon!
There is an urgent problem.
Otago skinks have disappeared from more than 90% of their range and are now confined to two disjunct, relict populations. They used to exist in Alexandra only 30 years ago!
They are special lizards:

  • they live on schist rock outcrops
  • eat invertebrates and small fruits
  • give birth to live young (very unusual for lizards)
  • produce 2-3 offspring per year (slow breeders)
  • become sexually mature at 4 years (slow to reach sexual maturity)
  • survive for up to 12 years in the wild (long lived)

Somewhere between 500 and 2000 skinks remain, and they are predicted to be extinct in 10-20 years.
As a result of the Trust's work,12 Otago skinks will be released in the Aldinga Conservation Area behind Conroy’s Dam, Alexandra in November 2009. This will be the first re-introduction of Otago skinks to Central Otago since their local extinction in the 1970s.

For more information, visit the Central Otago Ecological Trust web site.

You can also download a Membership form here (PDF file)
or read more about the Mokomoko Sanctuary here (PDF file)

Lowburn Ferry Vineyard, Strathburn Farm, 5 Swann Road, RD2, Cromwell, 9384, Central Otago, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (3) 445 0846, Fax +64 (3) 445 0840, Email: